Christmas changes at different stages

Christmas changes at different stages

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Different stages means Christmas changes. I don’t just mean that we share our children with their in-laws; I mean the way I approach celebrating changes. It’s the way life goes.

Remember the days when you tucked the little ones into bed in anticipation of Christmas morning, and they woke up earlier than ever? Groggy-eyed, I’d head for the living room. No one could go in early, lest there be peeking or a stampede of the tree.  As everyone grew older, opening presents happened later in the morning. We at least got a full night’s sleep. Our Christmas tradition of reading from the Bible and opening the presents came before we ate a special breakfast and I started the big, midday meal. Even when the boys moved out, we’d wait for them to arrive in the early morning before starting our Christmas. Sometimes they even stayed over after the Christmas Eve church service so we just had to walk down the hall to rouse them if necessary.

This year’s Christmas changes

But this year, we present the full-out, adult version of Christmas for the first time.

That is as it should be, I know. Yet, the charm from exuberant children expressed years ago disappeared along the way, and that leaves a bittersweet nostalgia. Someday when grandchildren arrive that will change, I hear. I feel stunned to be this far in life already.

This year, I plan to open the presents after we eat our Christmas dinner. Rather than watching the Nativity Story, we will read it. I noticed last year that some people wanted to change the movie tradition. Because our Christmases focus on Jesus, we will just change up the Bible reading portion to include more chapters. Each person reads an assigned portion. It won’t take long, but it will continue the proper honor for a holy day.

Deeper conversations

Last year, we started what I hope will be a tradition of sharing highlights from the last year and goals for the new year. We identified our love languages, then filled out what I call the Individual Recap Sheet. There were eight questions ranging from memories to goals to advice. My son, Isaac, put visiting Alaska on his bucket list in 2021. Since he vacationed there in 2022, I’m interested to know what else he has on his list. It’s a fun way to get to know each other better. We slow down and talk about deeper stuff, and I love that. I kept their previous answers, so we can compare what changed.

Keep expectations realistic

Still, what I envision differs from what happens. Already my expectations rise super high, and I work on tempering them to be realistic. The last thing I want is to feel disappointed. I desire a meaningful time together that creates memories we all will cherish. I’d like real interaction over just surface conversations where we leave knowing no more than we started with. This sometimes happens at large parties, and I don’t want it to happen with my family.

So, whether you embrace a Christmas bouncing with energetic children and squeals of delight or a quieter Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful time with your family celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus and enjoying each other’s company.

Christmas changes are inevitable. What do you add to bring your family closer?

May you find peace, joy, and good will. Merry Christmas!

10 Replies to “Christmas changes at different stages”

  1. I enjoyed reading this, Michelle. We are in the grandchildren stage, but I love your questions. Might be too late to incorporate those into our Christmas this year but maybe next year.

    1. Thanks, Mary. A paper to fill out probably isn’t necessary to start discussions. I just did it this way so people had more time to think. Getting to know each other better is always a good investment of our time. 🙂 I’m pleased that you like the idea. Merry Christmas!

  2. Great questions to discuss when family comes together! They’re sure to spark good conversations. And it seems like a nice way to wrap up one year and set expectations for the next.

  3. Changes! Changes! This year we will have a huge change in our family Christmas gathering. For the first time in 67 years our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will not be coming to our house. Instead, we will all gather in our daughter, Nancy’s home. A huge change for all of us, but especially for her and for me. I already miss all the preparations, planning, baking (although I have made some cookies), etc., etc., but I know the talents of my daughter and I know our time there will be exciting and joyful. Grandpa Lynn will still read the Christmas story from the book of Luke, we will still have a light lunch, open gifts, laugh while watching the children play games and give thanks to our blessed Savior for the reason we are meeting, regardless of where we are meekng. I’m looking forward to it.

    1. That is a major change for you this year, Donna, but I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time as usual. 🙂 I love your description: exciting, joyful, thankful, blessed. And laughter is such a beautiful sound. The children might build snowmen or go sledding this year with all this snow. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  4. Hi Michelle
    I love the questions you had everyone answer! What a wonderful way to start some great conversations ! Merry Christmas to you all!

    1. Thank you, Julia. It’s true that we all need to slow down more. Doesn’t it feel like we’re always busy and often rushing? These moments of slowing down and being in the moment are so precious with our loved ones. Merry Christmas!

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